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Robert Graysmith Education. (2012) 'Black Fire The True Story of the Original Tom Sawyer and of the Mysterious Fires That Baptized Gold Rush-era San Francisco.'

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00:45:00

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San Francisco, CA, USA

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Comcast Cable

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Channel 91 (627 MHz)

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mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
704

PIXEL HEIGHT
480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

San Francisco 26, Sawyer 22, Benghazi 9, Tom Sawyer 6, Us 5, Virginia City 4, Washington 4, Libya 3, Abraham Lincoln 2, Ms. Collins 2, Crockett 2, Joe Lieberman 2, Mr. Lieberman 2, New York City 2, Haiti 2, Sacramento 2, New York 2, Transamerica 1, Nathan Spear 1, Baths 1,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Robert Graysmith  Education.  (2012) 'Black Fire The True  
   Story of the Original Tom Sawyer and of the Mysterious Fires...  

    December 30, 2012
    5:15 - 6:00pm EST  

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national debate, but i think it's too early to make that decision. >> host: government bullies, the second book by senator rand paul, how everyday americans are being harassed, abused and imprisoned by the feds. >> with just days left in 2012, many publications are putting together their year-end lists of notable books. booktv will feature several of these lists focusing on nonfiction selections. these titles were included in kirkus book reviews best nonfiction of 2012. in haiti, "the aftershocks of history," law represent pew boy examines haiti's history. david talbot presents a history of san francisco in the 1970s in "season of the witch: enchantment, terror and deliverance in the city of love." in "quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking," author susan cain examines the benefits of an
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introverted personality. david drayly looks at 1862 and the actions of abraham lincoln in "rise to greatness: abraham lincoln's most perilous year." and in "full body burden: growing up in the nuclear shadow of rocky flats," kristin iverson investigates the nuclear weapons plant that was located near her childhood home. for an extended list of links to various publications' book selections, visit booktv's web site, booktv.org or facebook.com/booktv. >> and another update from capitol hill as reporters wait here for word from lawmakerrers in closed-door meetings on the fiscal cliff. an update via twitter from chad pilgrim of fox news, reid's remark that he had made a counteroffer was off-the-cuff response and that there was no
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counteroffer, and "the washington post" quoting senator joe lieberman saying he'd be shocked if a deal was struck today. we'll bring you continuing updates. for now, back to booktv programs. [applause] >> well, i actually left my cave. in the mornings i get up, and it's early dawn, and i have a desk for writing and a desk for drawing. and, actually, i sort of like the drawing the best. and i work, and the next thing i know letterman's on. so it's just the most exciting adventure. of i've had ten books and, believe it or not, it's very scary, i am 30 ahead that i haven't even shown. all illustrated. i'm just having such great time doing this stuff. so they asked me when i came here what did i, what were my prerequisites for writing a book. and it's got to be simply if i say i'm going to write it, if it takes 15 years -- i've had books take that long -- i'm going to finish. the other one is there can't be another book.
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there can't be another book on the subject. i like subjects that have never been touched where you have the challenge of going back and digging and digging and bringing this to life. and the role i have is let's say tom sawyer or mark twain came back today, they would say how did he know that? that's my biggest joy. i want to know the name of the dog in the sixth grade fires that destroyed industry wind directions, which shop burned, everything that went on. i want to make it as alive as i possibly can. so the way i got this idea, it was 1991, and i was reading -- it may have been the bay guardian, but there was a little tiny paragraph about boy firefighters back in 1850, ' '51-52 who ran with the fire engines. no streetlights, lots of hills, and they doesn't grade anything. and the water engines these firemen caroled, there was sometimes as many as 80 men pulling this.
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the streets were like quick sand. i even reproduced pictures of the time of people actually sinking. they had guys riding their wagons and horses, and they were sucked down, and they found them in the spring, that's how bad it was. so the torch boys, i always thought to myself, they carried fire to the fire, leading, running with their torches. and i thought, my god, that is such a poetic occupation. i can't believe nobody's written this. and then i got to looking, and i found out the city had burned down in 16 months six times by an arsonist. so i thought, who is this guy? so, basically, i'm a true crime writer, and that's what i went after. and then i found out one of these firemen, i read in an interview, was tom sawyer who told the, i think i forgot the name now, robinson, i think it is, of the san francisco call that he'd run with the very first volunteer fire department in california. and that was broderick i. back in new york where tom was a runner, torch boy, he had been
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in competition with broderick, and when broderick came west to make his fortune, he basically wanted to be a senator, that's what his plan was, and he did become a senator. tom came along, and an assortment of the weirdest guys you ever saw, the world's ugliest man, heavyweight champs, murderers, con men, i mean, just absolutely amazing people, i thought, well, i've got to write this. and as i'm working i realize -- and we are very close to it -- tom sawyer actually met mark twain in may of 1863 a about three blocks from here. in a steam room. and twain liked to talk to tom because tom knew these great stories. and they played cards and drank beer and went out drinking at night. so that was the genesis of it. i thought this has got to be written. so all these years of finding little bits and pieces of diaries, and that's how long it
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took. so this is the result. and i took out, as i do overdo stuff, 14,000 words. can you imagine? but i do love it, it's just the most fun. and i guess i could read you some now if you'd like? okay, sure. may take a second, i have never read in public before. so i'll start with a quote from tom sawyer. and this is an interview. it's viola rogers, that's right. i have to read this, unfortunately. you want to know how i come to figure in his books, do ya? sawyer or said. he turned on his stool, acknowledged the reporter, raised his brandy and took a sip. they were speaking of twain, of course. well, as i said, we both was fond of telling stories and spinning yarns. sam, he was mighty fond of children's doings, and whenever he'd see any little fellas fighting on the street, he'd always stop and watch 'em. and then he'd come up to the blue wing, that's the saloon they used to go to at night, and describe the whole doings, and
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i'd try to beat his arm by saying i used to play one when i was young. listen to these pranks of mine with great interest, and he'd occasionally take them down in his notebook. one day he says to me, i'm going to put you between the covers of a book some of these days, tom. go ahead, sam, i said. but don't disgrace my name. so that's an interview with the real tom sawyer from the san francisco call in october 23rd of 1898. so he gave multiple interviews. so this is the prologue, and this'll give you an idea of what we were just talking about with the steam bath. it was the first tom sawyer had ever seen mark twain looking glum. sawyer studied the journalist; loose-jointed body with, coarse tumble of fiery hair, long, black, he'dal-looking cigar and soup stringer moustache. a rangy, lanky man, twain didn't really walk but ambled and slouched his way through the muddy streets and back alleys of
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san francisco. his normal dress was careless and disheveled. his clothings were unbrushed and freckled with tobacco, though at this moment he was nude, his chest a forest of matted hair with one leg lolling from the arm of the chair. twain's eyes glinted like an eagle's in his ranging, sopping brows. on this rainy afternoon in june, 1863, twain was nursing a bad hangover inside ed stall's fashionable montgomery street steam rooms halfway through what was intended to be a two month visit to san francisco that stretched to three years. the sleepwalking and melancholic journalist rue teently went to the steam bath to ford off suicidal temptations. he met sawyer, the recently-appointed customs inspector, volunteer fireman and bona fide local hero. in the clouds of boiling steam, sawyer was mending his own
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wounds, though his were from a nearly-fatal ordeal aboard a burning steam boat a decade earlier. in contrast to the lanky twain, sawyer -- three years older -- was a stocky, round-faced -- [inaudible] his sleepy blue eyes were comfortable to gaze into, his hair was a disordered hay stack, a dark brown shock with side burns. his chest was hairless, and his body smooth. well muscled, but without definition though he could heft two men easily. in comparison to twain's remarkable soup strainer, his moustache and goatee were unimpressive. sawyer was not completely nude, he wore a coat of smoke and soot which as the three men played poker, the hot steam back inally washed away -- gradually washed away. beneath their bare feet coursed an ancient secret tunnel, and under that a huge raft upon which the massive four-story granite building floated.
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two doors down was a distillery. two doors up was the gold weighing room. gold weighing station. and a half a block away lay the bloodstained ground of murderer's corner. in the early may twain had departed virginia city for a two month visit to san francisco to visit bill briggs, the handsome brother of john briggs, a close friend in hand ball -- hand bl. twain initially passed hours at ed stall's posh ground room floor barbershop and basement steam bath on montgomery street. a thoroughfare he likened to just like being on main street and meeting the old familiar faces. the extensive chunk of granite known as the montgomery block dominated the southeast corner of montgomery and washington streets. numbers 722 and 724 montgomery. it had been a gold rush tobacco warehouses, the melodian
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theater, and now the turkish bath where twain par boiled with fireman sawyer and stall, another good friend. twain studied his cards and hefted a bottle of dark beer. it was cold and sweaty in his palm. he took a swig. a few glistening droplets caught in his horseshoe miss -- moustache, and he left them there. he slumped as he played poker, smoking one of his wheeling long nines which reportedly could kill at 30 yards. he'd become addicted to them when he was a cub reporter on the mississippi. puffing, he contributed his own clouds to the roiling steam. twain bought the longest -- [inaudible] licorice-flavored ropes by the basketful for the dime and by the barrel for $4, including the barrel. for his guests he bought boxes of 200. he awoke two or three times a night to smoke. he held his cigar poised in the air and scattered the vapor with
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a long sweep of his arms. twain had acquired a taste for steam baths at moritz steam bath in virginia city, and while laboring under bronchitis and a serious cold at the recently-discovered mineral waters of steamboat springs eight miles northwest on the geiger grade, the road between virginia city and steam boat springs -- a distance of 7 miles. over the first of a long line of nine beautiful columns, nevada cans had constructed a large house to bathe in. twain likened the jets of hot, white steam amid from fissures in the earth to a steam boat's escape pipes. they made a boiling, surging noise exactly as a steamboat did. he enjoyed placing eggs in his handkerchief and dipping them in the springs where they would soft boil in two minutes or or hard boil in four depending upon his mood. sawyer luxury rated in the hot mist and surveyed his cards
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which were murky in the haze. the pace boards were damp from the sweat running down his arms, but the fresh bottles of dark beer stall had sent in were cold. in his 32 years, sawyer had been a torch boy in the new york fire engine company number 14 and in san francisco had run and battled fire for broderick 1 under chief david broderick, the city's first volunteer fire company and first fire chief. sawyer served with other engine houses and toiled as a steamboat engineer mying the mexicans -- plying the mexicans -- [inaudible] trade. twain perked up when sawyer mentioned he had worked as a steamboat engineer. the journalist cautioned any bold boy who dreamed of shipping as a steamer fireman. such a job, he said knowingly, has its little drawbacks. in the boiling steam room, he
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pointed out the suffocating temperature of the furnace room where the engineer stands in narrow space between two rows of furnaces which glare like the fires of hell. he shovels coal for four hours at a stretch in unbearing temperatures of 148 degreestarian high. steam --fahrenheit. firemen do not live on average over five years. sawyer survived twice that long. he extinguished fires, and he stoked fires to fury. he knew furnaces and every aspect of combustion intimately. the stronger the drought, the thicker the fire should be, he explained. his face lighting up in the clouds of steam as he warmed to his topic. if the fire's thickness is kept even and no hollow places are allowed to form under it, the furnace temperature gradually increases until the fuel reaches a state of brilliant white incan
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december sense. sawyer could tell temperature by the coal's color to within a few degrees. dull red met 1290 degrees fahrenheit. cherry red indicated 1470 degrees. the orange meant the temperature exceeded 2000 degrees and white signaled a breeze of 2370 degrees. dazzling white meant the temperature was climbing far beyond the limits of the iron boiler and had to be damped down. before sawyer abandoned the sea for good, he had made a brief attempt at making a fortune in the gold mines with john mckay who did strike it big but not until much later. by then the bonanza king was flush, an unusual number of say or hours had a thirst for prospecting and had been unusually lucky in their pursuit. fortune failed to smile upon sawyer's efforts, and he'd gotten back to steamship engineering as fast as he could.
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when he returned to san francisco in 1859, he became a special patrolman on land and was appointed fire corporation yard keeper. though sawyer never realized his dream of becoming the foreman of phantom hook and ladder company -- it was all politics there, he said bitterly -- he had achieved an equally lofty position. he held the highest office in the city -- literally, not figuratively -- as a fire bell ringer in the city hall tower elevated 40 yards above the mayor. in 1862 because of his long experience fighting fire, he was elected as a delegate under william c. cox to the liberty hose number 2, a volunteer fire company he'd helped organize a year earlier. february 1863 he he replaced john d. rice as foreman. sawyer knew every biway in san francisco, every streep hill and twisting -- steep hill and twisting road.
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ed hall, once a strong adherent, had lived with his family on the top floor of the montgomery block since the building was erected over a decade earlier. before that he had the baths across the way. he was living here when james king of william, the self-righteous, muckraking editor of the daily evening bulletin, was gunned down out front. the shooter was james p. casey, a former volunteer fireman with a criminal past in the tombs of new york. king, brought inside to die, was laid out on stall's counter. in life king's huge head -- heavy from so much brain -- lolled to one side as he walked. as he lay dying, his head lolled over the edge of the beer-stained table. when king died in buffett's store, room 297 of the montgomery block, a reborn vigilance committee lynched casey and set the city aflame. stall still held strong opinions.
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he was vigorously opposed to a number of his patrons, especially the prominent lawyers and judges who were not to adhere to the law and order side. many were the heated arguments, almost to the point, the danger point that arose in the bath and barber's chair. local author pauline jacobson wrote of him. when i first set foot in san francisco in february of 1850, sawyer continued in the clouds of steam, i wanted to be an engineer on a steamer. twain grunted in disapproval. but got sidetracked performing the honest business of fighting fire and training a gang of ragtag, adolescent boys to lead the engines with their torches. the city desperately needs volunteers and needed runners like i had been in new york city even more. sawyer's 90 lifesaving acts of courage had taken place onboard a burning steam boat of which
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twain had a particular horror, the kind of dread that wakens a journalist at night and set him shake anything includes of cigar -- shaking in clouds of cigar smoke. for that reason he listened attentively, sweat rolling down his brow to sawyer's story of fire and explosion onboard the steam boat independence. in which hundreds died from hideous scalds. the steamer, launch inside new york city on christmas day 1850, did not reach san francisco for the first time until september 17th, 1851. blasting her whistle, laying a wide trail of foam and thrashing her bad les with -- paddles with abandon, the independence glided toward long wharf, an edges tension between holdson's peer and quaint street wharf. the cloud of white steam hanging above her was normal. in such noncondensing engines as
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her, the exhaust steam escapes into the air like a virginia city hot spring. so i'm going to leave out the ship wreck which is pretty horrible. not to spoil your evening, it is an amazing feat. tom, actually, swam the people ashore on his back through swarms of sharks. just an absolute hero. ninety people he was credited with saving. so i think about 150 died, and then they were ship wrecked for a while. but he came back to san francisco, and the wounds i talked about, that's when he was really made his mark, and then he went back to sea and came back in 1859. now this, i thought you might enjoy a little tiny bit of chapter one -- that was the prologue -- and this is about when dave broderick came to san francisco to start a fire company. and he was so charismatic that these incredible -- [inaudible] they came west with him just to be close to this guy. he had 49 what he called his
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shoulder strikers, and what they did is they sort of nudged people at the election polls and got 'em to vote the way broderick wanted of in order to achieve the things that he had wanted. well, he became very wealthy when he got here. he figured out nobody was making money, and if he made a $10 gold piece with $8 worth of gold anytime, he could do very well. so he's now in san francisco, it's christmas day -- christmas eve, and he's seeing the city really for the first time. so i'll give you this little bit, and we'll see how this goes. okay. in san francisco broadic awakened -- broderick awakened before dawn. he was not lonely. he'd been such a gloved and charismatic figure in manhattan that many of his fellow firefighters and political folk had trailed after him to san francisco. lying in bed, he considered the rains which had begun in early november and poured without cease throughout december. the early morning stillness had made him contemplative. he was independently wealthy, so
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what was he to do now? he limped to the window wheezing, still recovering from the illnesses he'd contracted outbound from south america and which kept him from the mines and from serving his friend, stevenson. pulling aside the muslim curtain, he saw the wind had stopped. the lull was a godsend. northeast of san francisco four-fifths of sacramento still lay underwater permitting a steamer to shuttle up and down its streets and allow passengers to enter their second-story city hotel room by window. the 50 inches of icy wind and shotgun blasts of black hail that had soaked and pummeled san francisco all winter had not dispelled the fitful dreams of it citizens. its citizens. they tossed in their beds inside combustible homes, heads filled with nightmares of what would
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happen when the lifesaving downpour halted. they reposed in front of their fires listening to the faint quacking of seagulls and snakelike hiss of pair fin. instead of being warmed, they feared the worst. they dreaded the high winds off the bay that would drive the wood to inflammability. and with neither water wells, nor flame-fighting equipment, nor the inclination to buy any, everybody knew that san francisco would burn. four years earlier in pittsburgh there had been a disastrous dawn fire. but that had come after a dry wind -- winter, six weeks without rain. san francisco's spring would be much different. but the results would be the same. from his window broderick made out the end of the road where fog mounted in heaps. and a prickly forest of mass towered. these abandoned vessels had
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transported hundreds of thousands of gold seekers who in turn had made the thousand ships orphans. broderick's hands on the sill were the calloused hand of a stone cutter, the practiced hands of a rough and tumble politician and consummate barroom brawler. during the night the ex-firefighter had slumbered fitfully. feeling all around him the thin boards of his -- the thin boards of cloth-walled homes shaking in the rising winds. how strange the windy season passed and how tightly it had stretched his nerves. broderick knew the danger san francisco faced. even if most of it citizens didn't want to know. as in most manmade disasters, there had been indication of the tragedy to come. someone had burned the shea's hotel in january. on june 14, 1849, two weeks after broderick first set foot in san francisco, someone had
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torched the philadelphia at dockside. a series of fires had gotten people to thinking, but no action was taken. thinking was hard and a little frightening. as christmas approached, people forgot to even think. instead, nathan spear and shells of overpriceed gifts bathed in fresh water at $3 a barrel and curled up before their fires to shiver. none were willing to take the least nominal steps toward preventing the tragedy they so feared and which broderick, with his experience, knew was inevitable. instead, they pressed their noses against their window paines and watched black water flow down the muddy streets to the shallow cove, a horseshoe-shaped bite in the western shore filled with abandoned ships. now, i would like to say something about these ships. i've written another book that deals with these. an entire city -- you've got to realize there are 25,000 people in san francisco between 1849
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and it gradually built to about 1851. but on board these ships, they're perfectly good ships, people have gotten to the gold rush, they jump overboard. they're not going to waste a second. and they left behind all these ships. there were 1,000 ships left, and a lot of them are under montgomery street. montgomery street was the water line when completely out. so on these ships we had 10,000 people living. and i always found that fascinating. again, nobody had ever written about this. so you have gentlemen with cows and servants and pigs, i mean, they had, they had fangsters and ref -- gangsters and refugees and deserters. it was absolutely -- to me, it's the first real setting since the cowtown where you'd have the fight down the middle of the street. this is something that's never been done, and equally fascinating with sawyer, it takes place at the same time. so there is a scene in this book
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where -- and this is a true story -- tom realized because they had no equipment that if he rode in, you know, at night, he rode in, he could find hose and axes and all the things that they needed to save san francisco. and that's what he did. in fact, afterwards it actually was in the paper, and other fire companies -- there eventually were 14 volunteer fire companies -- as the six fires set by an arsonist completely destroyed the city, they immediately started rebuilding. unfortunately, it was all the same kind of buildings that had caught fire. the same problems with the wind and the rain. it was thanks to prod rick and his -- broderick and his fang of 49 thug -- his gang of 49 thugs, i like to think of them, they were the only thing that stood between san francisco and complete destruction. the fire codes we have, these buildings where the transamerica building is now, they were gran mate biddings -- granite buildings, and they saved the city. and it took six fires, and there is more to that story.
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but that's when the fires stopped. and to me, these men -- we wouldn't be here if it hadn't been for broderick and his gang and tom sawyer. just incredible people. the interesting thing is every one of them met with a tragic end. and i always thought -- they were shot down, they were deported, they were actually murdered in some cases. broderick, he was in a duel, they rigged his gun so it wouldn't fire properly. so these are really, like peter said, rough and tough times with the toughest of men and absolutely fascinating to me. and i really feel like when i'm writing a book, these are my friends, you know? you look up, and they're walking around in that room. and i like to say you're going to do them justice. now, i'm not trained as a writer, i'm trained as an artist. so maybe you guys could bang something out. it is really -- it's a little more difficult for me. so i usually do about 10 or 11 drafts and usually a thousand-page book. [laughter] and then the hard part is
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cutting it down again. so i'll read you the rest of this little tiny opening. um, so as of this dawn, the day before christmas, 1849, broderick thought his terrible thoughts. the firefighters saw the road outside come to life. he heard the calling of ducks and geese and tradesmen trampling to ports mouth square. both sides of the square were taken up by the devil. gambling dens and thrown-together hotels and flammable canvas roofs, oil paper walls and bands who played music full blast. they were silent now. only on the fourth and upper side of the square had god taken a small toehold in a small adobe building where the reverend william taylor preached in thunder, the way of the transgress sor is hard, and that a great calamity was surely to
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befall the great tinderbox called san francisco. reverend taylor was rarely wrong. the building material was all combustible, all of combustibles, a citizen complained to his friends back east. no fire engines, no hook or ladders and, in fact, no water except in very deep wells. availability might be required. is it not enough to make a very prudent man tremble? this canny resident warned that fire once begun at the windward side would be certain to burn the whole of the boom town to ash in an instant. and he was right. the christmas eve fire first appeared as the light of a candle in the second floor win toe of denison's exchange, one of 30 gambling dens in the square and one of nearly a thousand in town. denison stood dead center of the fledgling city. on the east side of the corner of kearney and washington
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streets. from roof to ground, this g of all catastrophe was ignite about personified. ceiling with painted cotton fabric and roof with road tar, even the paintings on its unbleached canvas walls were executed in oil. throughout october and november the wagering palace had sat plum as an oil-soaked rag, ready to burst into flame at the touch of a match. 5:45 a.m. when the fledgling blaze was first noticed, a mild sort of alarm was disseminated among the saloons. of most of them had already been preparing to open in five hours. virtually no wind stirred. which in itself was unusual and fortuitous since the greatest threat to the city would have been an aggressive wind off the sea fanning the flames. at first the fire crawled as the
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half-hearted alarm ambled lazily across the square. the news was met by silence at the city hotel on the southwest corner of clay and kearney streets. there was a large adobe general merchandise store on the southeast corner. and the correct building on the northeast -- crockett building on the northeast corner. by day these were busy hubs. the crockett's gamble rooms and saloons had closed at near dawn, and its brocaded gamblers had staggered home. it was silent at the st. francis hotel on the southwest corner of clay and dupont. all the guests were asleep. the only sign of activity was between clay and sacramento streets. a handful of early-rising vegetable merchants and wine sellers setting up their stalls heard the whispered alarm and, yawning ab sently, took up the cry and passed it on as if in conversation. notice how prettily the fire
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curls along the beams one remarked lazily as he put his crate down in the mud. the haley house and bella union are on fire too, another added matter of factually. dogs began to yelp, and the tiny fire bell finally rang out. broderick started at the first tinkle and on o served a rope by, black smoke curling upward. this indicated a fresh fire. from its color he could estimate its temperature and from experience knew what such a hot fire could do. breathlessly, he dragged on his trousers, pulled on his high boots, clapped his hat on his head and rushed out in his shirt sleeves. the instant broderick reached the square he began shouting, form a bucket brigade! fortunately, everything to the east of montgomery street was underwater. cove waters lapped between washington and clay streets which ran from the northwest and southeast sides of the square and rose halfway to kearney on jackson. so few buckets were available
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that the brigade had to use canvas sacks, boxes and any container that held water. broderick -- >> and we leave this now, we're going to take you back live to the floor of the senate. to begn with. there is still significant distance between the two sides, but negotiations continue. there is still time left to reach an agreement, and we intend to continue negotiations. i ask unanimous consent that the senate now proceed to a period of morning business for debate only with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: mr. president, we're going to come in at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. we'll have further announcements perhaps at 11:00 in the morning. i certainly hope so. the presiding officer: the senior senator from connecticut is recognized. mr. lieberman: i thank the chair. mr. president, i guess the good news is that i'm rising today not to speak about the fiscal cliff, but what i'm speaking about is not good news because
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it deals with the tragic events that occurred in benghazi, libya, on september 11 when terrorists took the lives of our ambassador chris stevens and three other brave americans who were serving us there. mr. president, i rise today along with the ranking member of the homeland security and governmental affairs committee, senator collins, to submit for the record the report that she and i have been working on with our staffs and other members of the committee following those events in libya. we called this report flashing red, a specialist report on the terrorist attack in benghazi. flashing red was a term that was used in conversation with us by an official of the state department, and it couldn't have been more correct. all the evidence was flashing red that we had put american personnel in benghazi in an
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increasingly dangerous situation with violent is slammist -- violent islamicist extremists having occurred there with attacks on our mission there, two others prior to that year, and yet we did not give them the security that they needed to protect them, and we did not make the decision that i believe we should have made since we didn't provide them with the security that we should have closed our mission there. and as a result, people really suffered. mr. president, we recognize that the congressionally mandated accountability review board at the department of state has issued a report on the events in benghazi, and i think it was an excellent report. there are other committees of congress continuing with their own investigations, and each of these will and should make a valuable contribution to our understanding of what happened
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at benghazi so that we can take steps to make sure nothing like it ever happens again. under the rules of the senate, the committee on homeland security and governmental affairs has unique mandate to investigate the effectiveness and efficiency of governmental agencies, especially when matters that span multiple agencies are involved. our report is intended to inform the senate and the american people about events immediately before, during and after the attack at benghazi. in order to contribute most to the public debate, we have chosen to include only unclassified information in this report. we are hopeful that the report can and will make an important contribution to the ongoing discussions about how to better protect our diplomatic personnel
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abroad. our report contains ten findings and 11 recommendations that we believe can help us protect our diplomats and others who serve our country often in a very danger -- often in very dangerous places. mr. president, i now ask unanimous consent that the full text of the report be included in the record and i yield to the distinguished ranking member -- the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. lieberman: i thank the chair. this being probably the last opportunity i will have to do this, but to thank her again for the extraordinary partnership we have had for more than a decade now on the homeland security and governmental affairs committee, and it's really meaningful to me that we have this last opportunity to do something together across party lines that we believe and hope will be in our national interests. i thank the chair, and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from maine is recognized. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president.
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mr. president, i'm pleased to join the chairman of the homeland security committee, senator joe lieberman, in submitting for the congressional record our investigative report on the terrorist attack against the u.s. mission in benghazi, libya, that claimed the lives of four americans who were serving our country. this report is indeed the last initiative that the chairman and i will produce together. it is the final work product of ten years of cooperation and collaboration and was authored in the same bipartisan spirit as our investigations into the attack at fort hood and into the government's response to hurricane katrina, among many
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others. i will so miss working with chairman lieberman. he is an extraordinary senator who has contributed so much during his years in the senate and as a leader of our committee. sadly, our last official act together was prompted by the terrorist attack in benghazi on september 11 of this year that took the lives of our ambassador and three others brave americans. our findings and recommendations are based on the extensive investigative work that the committee has conducted since shortly after the attack of september 11, 2012, including meetings with senior and mid level government officials,
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reviews of literally thousands of pages of documents, both classified and unclassified, provided by the department of state, the department of defense and the intelligence community. a review of written responses to questions posed by our committee , two numerous agencies, our consultations with security experts and former officials and our review of publicly available documents. our investigation found that the terrorists essentially walked right into the benghazi compound unimpeded and set it ablaze, due to extremely poor security and a threat environment that was indeed flashing red in the words of a high-ranking state
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department official. as we all recognize, the ultimate responsibility for this atrocity lies with the terrorists who attacked our diplomats. nevertheless, there are several lessons that we must learn from this tragedy if we are to make our diplomats safer in the future. it is in that spirit that we are putting our unclassified report into the record so that we can share it with our colleagues and with the american people. we will have more to say about our specific findings and recommendations when we release the report tomorrow, and i would ask unanimous consent that the remainder of my statement be inserted in the record as if read. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. ms. collins: again, thank you,
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mr. president, and i want to thank the chairman for his extraordinary work on this very important project. thank you. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia is recognized. mr. manchin: thank you, mr. president. i want to first of all thank both of my colleagues for their diligent work. they have committed themselves to this work and i appreciate it and they keep us all informed. mr. president, i rise today frustrated, embarrassed and angry. it is absolutely inexcusable that all of us find ourselves in this place at this time, standing on the floor of the senate in front of the american people hours before we plunge off the fiscal cliff. with no plan and no apparent hope. but here we are and we have got to do something. if we're as determined to go over the cliff as we seem, we've got to do something to soften the landing because at the bottom of the fiscal cliff, our
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our -- are immediate and massive tax increases, deep and indiscriminate spending cuts and the risk of another recession. so as we come down on the final hours, we have two choices -- to do nothing and cause an unbelievable amount of hardship for our fellow americans or to do something to reduce the suffering inflicted on our citizens by an inflexible political system. mr. president, i choose to do something, so today i'm introducing the calm act which stands for the cliff alleviation at the last minute act. the calm act will do three important things. it will soften the financial blow of the fiscal cliff. it will calm our financial markets. it gives us the certainty of a plan now but allows us if we ever find the courage to pursue the fiscal grand bargain that has eluded us so far. make no mistake, the financial markets are watching us, and they're getting more nervous by

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